Sanctions urged after Monaco player tapes over LGBTQ badge

France’s sports minister has called for football club Monaco to be sanctioned after one of their players covered over an LGBTQ support message on the team’s shirt during the team’s final league game on Sunday.

The French league staged its annual campaign against discrimination during this weekend’s final round with each team wearing a badge featuring the word “homophobia” crossed out.

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However, Monaco midfielder Mohamed Camara taped over the badge during his team’s 4-0 win over Nantes, and also skipped the pre-match group photo where all players stood before a banner with the same message.

French Sports Minister Amélie Oudéa-Castéra called Camara’s actions “unacceptable” and called for “firm sanctions” against both the player and the club.

Aurore Bergé, the French minister of equality, also condemned Camara on social media.

“Homophobia is not an opinion, it’s a crime,” she wrote on X, formerly Twitter. “And homophobia kills. There must be strict punishment for Mohamed Camara.”

Monaco coach Adi Hütter said after the game that the club supports the league’s initiative and that Camara’s actions were “a personal choice.”

The club said they would discuss the situation with Camara internally.

This is the fourth consecutive season that professional clubs in France have been invited to use rainbow-colored numbers, armbands or patches on their shirts to support the LGBTQ movement. Each year, similar controversies arise.

In 2022, Senegalese-born Everton midfielder Idrissa Gueye, then playing for Paris Saint-Germain, refused to participate in a game requiring players to wear shirts with rainbow-colored numbers.

Senegal’s President Macky Sall publicly supported Gueye, stating “his religious convictions must be respected.”

Last year, Nantes fined Egyptian striker Mostafa Mohamed for similar reasons. Mohamed again did not play in Sunday’s game. Camara also did not play in the equivalent game last season.